Michael Cuddyer singled home Joe Mauer in the 12th inning, giving the Minnesota Twins a 4-3 victory Tuesday night and sending the Kansas City Royals to their ninth straight defeat.


Michael Cuddyer singled home Joe Mauer in the 12th inning, giving the Minnesota Twins a 4-3 victory Tuesday night and sending the Kansas City Royals to their ninth straight defeat.

Jesse Crain (2-2) picked up the victory, and Matt Guerrier worked the 12th to earn his first save and third of his career.

The Royals had tied it at 3 in the ninth on Mark Teahen’s three-run, inside-the-park homer off Joe Nathan, who blew his first save in 14 opportunities.

Teahen hit the first pitch from Nathan past a diving Delmon Young in left field, and it rolled to the wall. Teahen beat the relay throw home for the Royals’ first inside-the-park homer since Aug. 20, 2006.

Kansas City, outscored 53-19 in the nine losses, has had only six longer losing streaks. The Royals have scored three or fewer runs in eight of the losses and rank last in the American League with 184 runs.

Leo Nunez (3-1), the Royals’ fifth pitcher, was charged with the loss. He issued a one-out walk to Mauer and gave up a single to Justin Morneau. Cuddyer then singled to right to put the Twins ahead.

Royals starter Nick Blackburn, a 26-year-old rookie right-hander, gave up two runs on eight hits — seven of them singles — while striking out four and walking none. He was replaced by Nathan with one out in the ninth after hitting Alex Gordon and allowing Miguel Olivo’s single. That set up Teahen’s big hit.

Cuddyer and Jason Kubel drove in runs in the second, and the Twins added a run in the fifth when Brendan Harris, who had two hits, scored on Alexi Casilla’s single.

The Twins had the bases loaded with one out, but could not score again off Royals right-hander Brian Bannister.

Bannister gave up three runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out three for his first no-decision of the season in his 11th start. He has only one victory in eight starts since beginning the season 3-0.

Notes: Teahen’s inside-the-park homer was the Royals’ first since Mark Grudzielanek on Aug. 20, 2006, against Oakland.